Politics and Healthcare

I was sitting in a plane the other day and got to talking to an individual who was in pharmaceutical sales sitting next to me. During the conversation, the phrase, “I wish those guys in Washington, D.C. would get out of the healthcare business!” came up. Healthcare has always been a political hot button topic in the United States.

I’m not sure if it is that big an issue elsewhere as it is in our country. Politics in healthcare means so many different things though. Whether it is politics of the Washington D.C. variety, it is lobbying for changes in regulatory mandates (like the push that is currently going on in Congress to delay yet again, the adoption of ICD-10 to October 1st, 2015) or politics in a healthcare provider project where interpersonal differences between project team members could affect the quality of the output due to ambiguity in project processes. Nowhere in the world is healthcare as intertwined with politics as it is in the United States, especially over the last few years where to some, the Affordable Care Act, ICD-10 requirements and the Meaningful Use stages are not what they have been used to. Change is always difficult. That’s one of the reasons why I usually, at the outset of any project or program I have managed, I work with the project members to try and get them used to a process over the first few weeks and make it a habit. Everyone will take time (akin to starting a new diet taking 3 to 4 weeks) to get accustomed to the process. I’ve seen project team members get overly stressed because “Meeting Agendas or Minutes” weren’t in the “proper” format without having ever explained or demonstrated what the “proper” format was. “Politics and healthcare” and “politics in healthcare” are often symbiotic in nature.

These days, care delivery organization’s IT departments understand their responsibilities well. I have seen that IS&T is usually ahead of operational leadership, thanks largely in part to IT leadership seeing things coming down the road, many times prompted by their vendor community (sometimes now, as in the case of many application vendors still ambiguous with firm dates of their ICD-10 application version compliance timelines).

This week is also CSO HIMSS Healthcare IT Day on Thursday, April 2nd, so come out to Columbus to the Ohio Statehouse and be a part of influencing how healthcare will play out in the great state of Ohio. For readers of this blog who live in other states, please participate in your local HIMSS advocacy. Your volunteerism and activism will help shape the quality of care you receive.

To bring a smile to your face at the start of the week, click here to some political healthcare humor.





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